Hilary Davan Wetton
Hilary Davan Wetton was Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the City of London Choir for 34 years, from 1989. The choir invited him to take the title Conductor Emeritus on his retirement in July 2023.
Hilary has enjoyed a wide-ranging career as a conductor both of choral and orchestral ensembles. He was conductor of the Guildford Choral Society from 1968-2008, Artistic Director of the Leicester Philharmonic Choir from 2009-2018 and Founder Conductor of the Holst Singers from 1979-1993. He has worked with most of the major London orchestras as well as orchestras in Europe, Australia and the US. He was Principal Conductor of the Wren Orchestra of London for 10 years and Artistic Director of the Milton Keynes Orchestra from 1975 until 2008. He is currently Associate Conductor of the London Mozart Players and Artistic Director of the Military Wives Choirs.
A lifelong commitment to youth music-making has included posts as conductor of the Buckinghamshire Youth Orchestra, Birmingham Schools’ Symphony Orchestra, Edinburgh Youth Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Birmingham Conservatoire. He was founder conductor of the Scottish Schools’ Orchestra from 1985-1995. He has also been Professor of Conducting at the Guildhall School of Music and Senior Music Associate at Somerville College, Oxford.
Hilary’s extensive discography includes award winning recordings of Holst’s Planets with the LPO, Beethoven’s Der glorreiche Augenblick with the CLC and the RPO and Holst’s Evening Watch with the Holst Singers. His 1993 recording of Holst’s Choral Symphony was awarded the Diapason D’Or. With the MKCO, he made first recordings of neglected English symphonies by Samuel Wesley, William Crotch, Sterndale Bennett and Cipriani Potter which are widely admired. His Naxos recording with the CLC, Flowers of the Field, was released on Remembrance Day 2014 and went straight to the top of the specialist Classical Chart.
Hilary came to wide public notice through his Classic FM programme Masterclass, where he introduced great pieces of orchestral music with a live orchestra in the studio. He was also Jo Brand’s organ tutor for the BBC1 series Play it Again. His book Reflections on Conducting was published in 2021 by Queen’s Temple Publishing.
Hilary has been awarded honorary degrees by the Open University and De Montfort University, and he is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.